Hello everybody! Today, I have another writing post for you! This one is basically self-explanatory, but I thought I might give you a few tips and tricks I use when writing my first draft. Enjoy!
Now that I have my story plotted out, it’s finally time to write! So I start at the very beginning… (A very good place to start!) the title page. Yes, I am one of those writers that has to have all the preliminary pages formatted before I write the story. I give them headings (Acknowledgements, Introduction, etc.) and fill them out later. BUT THEY HAVE TO BE IN PLACE OR I WILL GO CRAZY! Okay…I might have a slight problem 😊
Once I have these pages in place, it’s time to write! I keep my outline close by, my Emotion Thesaurus, research books from the time era (just in case 😉), my music playlist and something to drink. While I do enjoy tea and coffee (decaf!) my writing drinks of choice are Water and Lemonade, the tarter the better! Fun fact, Stonewall Jackson loved lemons and ate them like candy. Thus he loved his lemonade quite tart. I suppose I’m in good company!
Basically, I type until I hit a stump. Sometimes I cannot remember the time-period appropriate word and it can leave me hung up for several minutes. I’ve learned to just insert the modern word and fix it later so I won’t forget the actual story I’m supposed to be writing 😊
When that dreaded writer’s block does hit me with full force, here’s some things I try…
Walk away. Get outside for a few minutes and relax, think about your story and try to figure out what needs to happen next.
Talk to somebody. My family has gotten me out of several writing slumps!
Play a game with my family! Apple to Apples and Dutch Blitz are two of my personal favorites!
Re-read what I have already written. This helps so much! Sometimes I can find why I’m stuck by reading over what’s already in the document.
Writing prompts. I keep a jar of them on my desk. I haven’t used them very much, since I’m revising books, not writing new ones, but I’m sure I will in the future 😊 Unlike the ones I post here, these are prompts like “What is it that your Character needs? Take it away from them and explore what they will do to get it back” or “What could you do to make it harder for your character to reach their goal? Do it!” or “When your character finally makes it to their destination/meets their goal, how do they feel about it? How have they grown through the story?” Super thought provoking!
Take a break and do some research. Since I write on the Civil War, there are many books, articles and documentaries at my disposal. I love finding those little details and little-known facts to bring out in my stories. I’ve by no means exhausted the research world on the War Between the States, but I had never read a fiction story that depicted the Battle of Kernstown. So, it was included in my book, Our Heritage to Save. Chicago’s Best Kept Secret was another revelation to me. (That’s in The Rivers of Sorrow.) For my current WIP (work in progress) I have a lost battle, a ship I didn’t even know existed and an incident with a lighthouse that a friend told me about.
The point is, whatever you need to do, get words written. Your story won’t write itself!
Also, if you are working on a computer or reading for long periods of time, it’s good to do the 20-20-20 exercise. (I learned this from a doctor, so it’s not dangerous 😊) Every 20 minutes, take a break and focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You wouldn’t believe the pressure this relieves from your eyes!
Well, that’s all for now! Our Next Writing Post will cover Revisions and Self Edits!
Writing for Him!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.